Friday, January 2, 2009

The 99 Cent Chef vs Mario Batali - Ragu alla Bolognese Recipe & Video

A recipe rumble kicks off the 2009 New Year of recession proof recipes. The 99 Cent Chef challenges heavyweight cooking champ and high-end restaurateur Mario Batali to leave his copper pot-stacked ivory tower for a ragu throw-down. The Chef has the chutzpah to take the rotund Iron Chef's Ragu alla Bolognese recipe (click here) and make it his own; with affordable tasty ingredients -- ground turkey instead of veal, breakfast sausage instead of ground pork, and bacon instead of pancetta. Try the Chef's Ragu alla Bolognese recipe -- you be the judge who comes out as Top Chef !

 Richer than your typical Italian pasta meat sauce with the addition of milk or cream, ragu alla bolognese is a hearty family dinner pleaser. It is guaranteed to draw a crowd once the kitchen fills with the aroma of cream, tomato, bacon, ground pork and chicken, slow-cooking on the stove top. Served over your favorite pasta, this is a dish that tastes better reheated the next day.

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 cups total chopped onion and carrot
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 small can of tomato paste
1 lb. each of ground pork sausage and ground turkey (or chicken)
4 slices of bacon
1 cup of 99.99 cent white or red wine
2 cups water or broth
1 beef bouillon cube
1 small carton of half and half cream (okay to substitute with milk)
1 bay leaf and 1 tbsp. total of dried Italian herbs including: sage, parsley and thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, saute turkey, bacon and breakfast sausage for about 15 minutes until brown. Pour out 1/2 of the bacon grease (a lot of flavor is lost if you pour it all) and add chopped veggies and garlic to cook until soft a few minutes more. De-glaze pan with white or red wine, then add tomato paste, herbs, bouillon and liquid including water and milk. Mix well and increase heat to a low boil; then turn down heat, cover and cook at low heat for an hour. Finish cooking uncovered for another hour to reduce liquid and thicken the sauce - this is when everyone will start hovering around, asking when it will be ready. Serve over your favorite pasta topped with a 99.99 cent dried grated cheese blend.

A highlight for the Chef was meeting Mario, as captured on the following video. Flashback with the Chef to see a confrontation he had with the wrong end of Mario Batali's orange Crocks. Watch the Chef feed famished screenwriters on the picket line in his 2007 WGA strike video -- where, in front of Batali's Hollywood restaurant Mozza (co-operated with Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery), The 99 Cent Chef calls out Mario to stop feeding skinflint studio heads (confrontation scene is in the last 30 seconds of video).

The 99 Cent Chef meets Mario Batali - Video

Play it here. The video runs 2 minutes 28 seconds.

Go here to embed or view video at youtube.


Rumela said...

Thanks for the Ragu alla Bolognese recipe.My husband loves Ragu alla Bolognese with pasta.I am going to bake it this weekend. I know it is tricky. Let's see how things turn out.thank you for my shearing your post.


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99 Cent Chef said...

I hope your Ragu turned out well Rumela. It is actually a simple recipe - very few ingredients - just a lot of browning, them cover and walk away for a couple of hours.

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